On a beautiful spring day in 1986,
they met in the publishing house's grand building in the heart of Oxford,
where Jobs made an offer of $2,000 plus 74 cents for every computer sold
in order to have the rights to Oxford's edition of Shakespeare.
"It will be all gravy to you," he argued.
"You will be ahead of the parade. It's never been done before."
They agreed in principle and then went out to play skittles over beer at a nearby pub where Lord Byron used to drink.
By the time it launched, the NeXT would also include a dictionary, a thesaurus, and the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations,
making it one of the pioneers of the concept of searchable electronic books.
Instead of using off-the-shelf chips for the NeXT,
Jobs had his engineers design custom ones that integrated a variety of functions on one chip.
That would have been hard enough,
but Jobs made it almost impossible by continually revising the functions he wanted it to do.
After a year it became clear that this would be a major source of delay.
He also insisted on building his own fully automated and futuristic factory,
just as he had for the Macintosh; he had not been chastened by that experience.
This time too he made the same mistakes, only more excessively.